The biggest thorns in the Indian National Congress’ bid to return to power at the Centre are the good-for-nothing dynasts be it Rahul Gandhi or Karti Chidambaram who often reek of entitlement. In yet another display of entitlement, money laundering accused Karti Chidambaram, seemingly not caring for irony, now wants the law against money laundering gone. At a time when the father-son duo of P Chidambaram and Karti Chidambaram is facing the heat from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), junior Chidambaram has attempted to challenge the constitutional validity of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
In his petition, the Sivaganga MP stated that the investigation, interrogation, raids, arrests and trials carried out by the ED under the PMLA are “arbitrary, unreasonable and coercive”.
Karti’s lawyers – Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal and Advocate Arshdeep Singh while appearing for him in the Supreme Court sought to declare the law against money laundering as unconstitutional, ultra vires and void saying, “The entire procedure of investigation and trial under PMLA is totally arbitrary, unreasonable, fails to satisfy the principles of due process and hence violative of and unconstitutional under Articles 14, 19, 20 and 21 of the Constitution of India”.
The petition stated, “Consequently, the whole of PMLA is liable to be declared unconstitutional and void.” Chidambaram in his petition stated that he feels the law has unregulated and arbitrary procedure because “the ED doesn’t wait for predicate investigating agency to investigate the predicate crime and arrives at prima facie conclusion that an offence (relating to the predicate offence) may have been committed”.
In fact, the petition claimed that through PMLA, the ED overreaches its authority, as it stated that the ED does not have jurisdiction to investigate a predicate offence and it can only probe ‘proceeds of crime’.
The petition read, “However, in practice, the authorities under PMLA take upon themselves the jurisdiction to investigate the predicate offence and reach a conclusion whether the predicate offence has been committed or not.”
Challenging the procedure of attachment, adjudication and possession of properties by the ED, Karti argued that such actions are done, “on the belief of [ED] officer only, even when predicate offence is under investigation and no charges sheet has been filed”. Subsequently, he has argued that the ED does not send any report of search and seizure to the magistrate.”
For the uninitiated, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrested the Sivaganga MP on February 28, 2018, in connection with the INX Media case. Karti Chidambaram who is currently out on bail and has his properties worth Rs 54 crores attached by the ED is now trying to challenge the constitutional validity of the law itself perhaps in order to save him and his father.